Treating autistic kids as puzzles

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Lisa Rab hit the core of the Shoemaker family story ["Raising Joshua," November 15] when she observed that the parents are an attractive and sociable couple for whom having an autistic child "wasn't part of the plan." Their unwillingness to accept their son's autism led them to embrace a drug regimen for which a coherent scientific rationale has yet to be proposed and which, in a more aggressive form, killed a Pennsylvania boy last year. There is another approach. Many families of autistic children take the view that autism is a part of human diversity and direct their efforts not toward stamping out their children's autism but toward nurturing them as individuals with unique potential. I doubt that any autistic kid benefits from being considered chiefly a puzzle for his or her parents to solve. Lisa Randall Baltimore, Md.

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